Jon and Janet Flickinger's 1939 Ford rumbleseat convertible showcases Jon's many talents as an automotive craftsman. He turned a near-basket case of a hulk into this showstopper, doing literally all of the work himself, except for the finishing touch of the pinstriping.
With the hand-made top up, the '39 displays some of the subtle modifications Flickinger engineered into the car: the fully functional folding cloth top is 2-1/2 inches lower than stock, the hood has been sectioned nearly 3 inches to better mate with the beltline, and the stock grille has been reworked to eliminate the wide center bar and smooth the flow into the custom-peaked hood.
Flickinger designed the dash and built it himself from 18 gauge steel, which he then covered in padded tan Cessna leather. He built his own console and modified a set of Glide Engineering seats to work on Mercedes Benz 5-way power tracks. All of the upholstery work was done by the owner.
Flickinger engineered his own design for the top bows of the roof, seen here in the down position. The pivoting bows were fabricated out of plain steel and then recreated in stainless steel for the finished look.
After the windshield frame was chopped 2-1/2 inches, the builder decided to go with the cleaner look of frenched-in windshield sections, instead of trimming the edges with chrome or stainless. The smooth effect was achieved with old-school leading, not body putty.
Flickinger's first car was a '39 Ford coupe and he loved the teardrop-shaped headlights, so he retained the stock bezels on the convertible. He hand-formed extra grille bars to replace the wide trim band that originally ran vertically through the middle of the grille.
This Corvette LS2 engine had only 5 miles on it when Flickinger bought it from a GM freight-damage program. The Corvette powerplant, coupled to a stock Corvette automatic transmission, not only yields plenty of power, but lets the Flickingers cruise all day long at 23 mpg or better.
The smoothly flowing lines of the bright red convertible come to a graceful conclusion at the rear of the car, where the license plate has been frenched into the bodywork, along with a handcrafted oval fuel filler that blends almost seamlessly with the left rear fender. The low-key pinstriping laid down by Alan Johnson of St. Paul, Minn., is literally the only thing Jon Flickinger himself did not do on the '39.
To see the finished version of the Flickingers' 1939 Ford convertible, you would never guess that an estimated 50 to 60 percent of the sheet metal was hand-fabricated by the proud owner. He estimates he has at least 4,000 hours invested in the car.